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26 August 2013
Why sunspots won’t help you make a fortune on wheat futures
A claim by 1800s astronomer William Herschel says the Sun’s moods influence things here on Earth in a more immediate way. Herschel asserted that the number of dark splotches on the Sun, called sunspots, significantly affects the wholesale price of wheat grain. Jeffery Love, a geophysicist for the US Geological Survey, decided to put this claim to the test. Such correlations, if they existed, would provide a useful analog for scientists researching historical solar activity.